My plans to retrace Captain Cook's unfinished voyage have been postponed a year while I work on the next Marine Diesel Basics book and get my new boat SV Oceandrifter ready for sea.
You are what you eat, having become what you ate. Not the exact words of the Buddha two and half thousand years ago. What he said, in the opening words of the Dhammapada, was, ” You are what you think, having become what you thought.” Not so very different, I would argue.
So what do you and I eat? Do you actually know? Because I don’t. To tell the truth, I haven’t taken much interest in exactly what I have been eating for more than 50 years, except that I’ve never had a taste for fast foods, processed foods, prepared meals etc., I have always eaten lots of fruit and quite a few vegetables every day. I prefer whole-grain rice (brown rice) and bake with mostly whole-wheat flour. And I complacently thought that that was all good enough.
But in planning what foods I’m going to be taking with me on “Kuan Yin” this coming summer when I sail north to Labrador and around the Labrador Peninsula into Ungava Bay, I’ve started to take a lot more interest. The voyage will take me into an uninhabitied area the size of Texas with hundreds of miles of coastline without a single shop to resupply. Yes, I hope to catch some fish. But where’s the wheat or yeast, milk or tea to come from for up to four months at sea?
So I’ve been researching and learning. And every time I ask a few more questions, the answers become more disturbing. Disturbing not just for what I might be putting through my own body, but for how the system of corporate agri-business operates; its priorities, its power over individual people who grow food for us to eat, its power over politicians, its control of the government agencies that are supposed to regulate food on behalf of citizens and the topsy-turvy world of patents and laws. Did you know if the wind blows seed onto a farmer’s field, HE (or she) is guilt of patent infringement and must prove his innocence? Did you know that the US Supreme Court Justice who wrote that decision was a former Monsanto lawyer (the monopoly patented seed multinational)? If you want to know a lot more, watch this video. You may decide that it’s business as usual so far as what you and your family eats, but at least you’ll be a little better informed about what is being done in your name to put the food in your rice bowl.
Website of Food Inc. documentary.